As Indonesia continues to see a spike in COVID-19 cases placing its healthcare system in dire straits, the central government has introduced new measures to restrict activities in hopes of slowing transmission rates.
The new measures, dubbed the enforcement of public activity restrictions (PPKM), are part of a ministerial order for a number of regional administrations in Java and Bali in response to the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant.
Under Home Ministerial Instruction No. 1/2021, and later strengthened by a circular from the national COVID-19 task force chief, most of Java and Bali are expected to enforce these new mobility curbs from Jan. 11 to 25.
However, the new term has caused confusion in the public sphere, especially in terms of how these new measures differ from the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) that have been used extensively throughout the nation.
The Jakarta Post has compiled a list of key points from the new policy:
1. New curbs are implemented only in regions that meet certain criteria
National COVID-19 response and economic recovery committee chairman Airlangga Hartarto has said that the new measures would only be implemented in regions that meet one of four requirements issued by the government.
These criteria are a death rate that exceeds the national average of 3 percent, a recovery rate that is below 82 percent, active COVID-19 cases surpassing the national average of 14 percent and a hospital bed occupancy rate of more than 70 percent.
2. PPKM is not the same as PSBB
While at first glance these new curbs look similar to those that fall under large-scale social restrictions, there are marked differences between the two.
In the case of the PPKM, the responsibility of enforcing curbs falls on regional leaders. Meanwhile, under the PSBB regime, regional leaders must submit a proposal to the Health Ministry, which can then give the approval to enforce large-scale restrictions upon fulfilling the set criteria.
The former is an order, while the latter is a decision that is left up to regional administrations to act on.
In terms of legal standing, the PPKM refers back to the home minister’s instruction, while the PSBB is issued by the Health Ministry as a ministerial regulation to speed up COVID-19 response efforts.
3. Access to public places is restricted
Under the PPKM policy, companies in badly affected areas are required to limit the number of people working at the office to 25 percent of the maximum capacity.
Schools have also been asked to continue with online distance learning methods, while shopping malls are required to close by 7 p.m.
Furthermore, restaurants are only allowed to serve dine-in customers at 25 percent of the total venue capacity and places of worship are instructed to reduce visitor capacity to 50 percent.
Meanwhile, essential sectors are still allowed to fully operate, albeit under strict health protocols.
These curbs are to an extent looser than the requirements under the PSBB policy.
4. Stricter protocols for individuals traveling domestically
The national COVID-19 task force has issued a new policy for individuals traveling to and from Java and Bali.
Travelers who use public transportation are required to produce a negative rapid test result prior to their departure, while those who travel using a personal vehicle are only requested to perform a rapid test. Children aged 12 and under are exempted.
Additionally, those who travel by land are subject to random rapid tests at task force checkpoints throughout affected regions. All travelers are also required to fill out electronic Health Access Cards (e-HAC).